A/N: So sorry that this took forever. I kind of had major writer's block when it came to this story. I hope you all like this last chapter and the story as a whole.

Enjoy and review

Disclaimer: I own nothing

Chapter 5: Unspoken thanks

"Ready?" Derek asks as he holds my jacket out for me. I can tell he doesn't really want to go, I honestly don't either, but we need to. It is our Christmas gift after all. I just wonder what those two are up to.

And it didn't help calm our suspicions when they said they didn't need a ride. Somehow, their explanation of 'we'll be in the area' seemed a little out there. Yeah, they were up to something. There is no reason that they would be a good 15 minutes away from their house, by car, with a 7 year old in an area with the restaurant and maybe a corner store.

Damn Lizzie for hanging up the phone before I could interrogate her.

Nodding my head as I place my arms through the sleeves, I give Derek a nervous smile. He returns it, trying to make it seem a little less nervous, but he fails. We never really could anticipate what Lizzie and Edwin do when they put their heads together.

Arriving at the restaurant a little earlier than expected, we decide to go inside to get out of the harsh cold. I know I'm a little surprised to see some people we know in the entrance way to the fancier than expected restaurant, where we were supposed to meet our siblings. Just our siblings.

"Hey guys," I hear from behind us. Standing in a little yellow dress, making her purple shoes look a little out of place, is Marti flashing her slightly toothless smile.

"Hey Smarti, what are you doing out here?"

Shifting her eyes to right behind us for a second, Marti focuses her eyes on Derek's shoulder. "Uh . . . waiting for you and Casey to get here? By the way, did you learn any new words?"

Unable to make eye contact, speaking in questions, changing the subject . . . yeah, Lizzie and Edwin got to her. And they trained her well.

"Yeah Marti, we learned a few new words."

She nods, happy with herself because she got us such a thoughtful gift. "Good, I had to use Lizzie's dictionary to look up oblivious because I already wrapped your gift." She looked over Derek's shoulder again and gave a small nod; I'm sure hoping we didn't see it. As I turn to look at Derek, the look in his eyes tells me he saw it too, whatever it is.

"We're going to go see Lizzie and Edwin now?" Oh, how I love them talking in questions.

As we followed Marti into the dining area I tried to get Derek's attention, to see if he had any idea what was going on. Before I was able to say anything we heard loud music and 'congratulations' being screamed at us from all over. Looking up, I notice we were in a small hall, decorated with 'Congratulations on the Engagement' everywhere.

Seeing Lizzie, Edwin and Marti in front of the small crowd of family and friends brought a smile to my face. And feeling Derek's arm wrap tighter around my waist, I know he too is happy that we have the siblings that we do.

Wrapping the three of them up into a big hug, Derek tells them that this is too much and we would have been happy with just knowing that they were happy for us. Edwin shrugs and says "It was really nothing at all."

Making Derek and I follow them throughout the room, we are bombarded with smiling faces of the people that we know. Hugs are exchanged, as well as everyone's best wishes. It's nice really. I love how everyone is happy for us and thinks we will have a great life together. I just kind of wish that we would be able to share it with the people we love the most.

And as if on cue, Derek pulls me a little closer to him and whispers in my ear, "Don't worry about it Casey. Think of it as prom, it's just going to take a little while." I love how he says just the right thing at the right time.

Waiting in my room until I hear Derek tell everyone that he's leaving to pick up Kendra, I make it halfway down the stairs just as he is shutting the front door behind him. The slight smile on his face isn't caught because everyone is looking at me.

As my mom is crying, saying that her baby is growing up and looks so pretty in her dress, George answers the door for Emily. A few pictures and last minute questions as to why my date isn't picking me up, Emily and I make our way to the front door.

"I already told you mom. Bob lives in the other direction from the hall and he doesn't have a car, so Em's date is going to pick us both up and then we will go pick up Bob."

Brandon is already waiting in his car when Emily and I say our final goodbyes to my family. After a few minutes of him ogling his date, we climb into his car and make our way to the predetermined destination a few minutes away.

"Casey you look nice too. What name did you give your mom as your date's name?"


Emily starts laughing uncontrollably at this point. I knew she was trying to hold it back when we were inside my house, but now she has free reign to laugh out loud. "I can't believe they didn't pick up the fact that you never gave Bob a last name and that it just so happens to be the name of your imaginary dead dog."

"Yeah, I know. Edwin suggested that should use that name, claiming our parent's wouldn't know the difference. Turns out the kid's a genius and they didn't remember."

When we finally got to the gas station, I say goodbye to Emily and Brandon, telling them I'll see them in a little while at prom. When I walk over to Derek's car, he's standing on the passenger's side waiting for me.

"Did they say anything after I left?"

"Only telling me to have a good time with Bob."

Derek laughs lightly and pulls me closer to him. "They didn't mention anything about the two of us wearing the same color?"

I kiss him, and then rub my thumb over his lips to wipe off the lipstick that came off. "Nope, I bet they don't even remember what color I'm wearing and I left the house a few minutes ago."

After getting into his car, we make our way to the hall that our high school is having prom at. It's beautifully decorated and a great live band is playing. We dance almost every song, only sitting to eat and catch our breath.

It feels really good to just be ourselves around people without having to act or hide our relationship. Neither of us want to the night to end, so we kind of lost ourselves in our own little world.

Emily starts nudging me, saying that they are about to name Prom King and Queen. I still don't bother to pay any attention. Derek becomes very arrogant, stating that he will win Prom King because he is the most popular guy in our grade. I roll my eyes but don't disagree. He's telling the truth, he is rather popular and everyone looks up to him.

When he leaves to go up to the stage to get his crown, I lean back into my chair. I may be dating the most popular guy and people no longer call me names, but that doesn't mean people like me or think I am worthy of being Prom Queen. No, I'm not being bitter, I just know my place.

"And this year's Prom Queen is . . ."

"Brooke Michaels" I whisper under my breath, because who else besides the most popular girl would win?

"Casey MacDonald!"

I look up in complete and utter shock to see Derek clapping for me, gesturing for me to get on stage. Emily pushes me out of my seat and as I walk to the stage almost everyone congratulates me and tells me I deserve it.

Before I know it I'm crowned, Derek makes some small speech on behalf of the both of us and we are in the middle of the dance floor. It's at this time that it really sinks in. I, Casey MacDonald, am Prom Queen of my high school's senior prom. This is what every young girl wants.

But then I realize that I can't share it with my mom, I can't show off my crown when I get home. I have to down play my emotions and pretend that I didn't get this really amazing honor.

As I wallow in my self-pity, Derek pushes some of my hair behind my ear and whispers, "Don't worry about it Casey, we'll be able to tell them one day."

When Derek and I finally make it to the back of the room, Edwin stops and puts up one of his fingers. He reaches into his jacket pocket, seeming to look for something. I catch Lizzie roll her eyes and reach into her purse. When she pulls out an envelope Edwin chuckles uncomfortably, it looks like Lizzie is the brains behind the duo.

"What's this?" Derek asks as Lizzie hands the envelope to me.

"Just open it."

Derek steps behind me and places his head on my shoulder while I begin to open the envelope. I remove a Christmas card, signed by Lizzie and Edwin, and a gift certificate to the mall.

Raising my eyebrow at them, I ask "What's this? I thought the party was our gift."

"The party is from us" I hear from behind me. Derek wraps an arm around my waist before turning us to face the two people we didn't want to see. But of course they had to be here, to ruin the second happiest day of my life so far. I'm going to kill my sister and stepsiblings.

"What are you doing here?" Derek asks in a low voice. A lot of our friends and distant relatives are here and I don't think he wants to make a scene.

I on the other hand could care less about the people around us. "Yeah, are you trying to destroy this day too? Trying to break us up? Is this even supposed to be an engagement party?"

My mother sighs and George wraps an arm around her. I wish Derek didn't have such a strong hold on me because I think I would just run out of here to avoid this whole situation. And I think he knows that though.

"Yes this is supposed to be an engagement party for the two of you. No we are not trying to break the two of you up. And I am sorry that I ruined the day you got engaged."

What? Does she really think I am supposed to believe her? Derek seems to be thinking the same thing because his grip has gotten tighter, I'm sure he's trying to prove that he won't ever let me go.

Sensing our disbelief, George began to speak. "Did either of you listen to a single message we left?"

"To what? Hear you yelling at us? Telling us we are sick and can't possibly be in love? We preferred not to be judged by our parents so no, we didn't listen to a single message you left."

George faces Derek this time, I guess I might be a little irate. "Do you have your cell phone on you?"

Derek nods and takes it out of his pocket. Dialing his voice mail, he puts his phone on speaker and holds it in front of us. I don't really want to hear them yell at us. I don't want the whole room, which has gotten suspiciously quiet, to listen to them yell at us.

"You have 36 new messages. First message, Friday December 8th.

Guys, it's George. Nora is here with me. We'd like to say we're sorry. We're sorry we didn't give you a chance. We're sorry we blew up in your faces. We might not be completely comfortable with this right now, but we will be someday. We love you enough to let you be happy. Merry Christmas in case we don't get to see you, but we really hope to soon. Oh, and you have some really amazing siblings."

Derek closes his phone before the next message could play. I look up and don't even realize I'm crying until I see blurry images of my mom and George. Derek pushes us forward a step before my mom walks the rest of the way and wraps us both up in a hug. She apologizes over and over into my hair while George completes the hug.

After a few more minutes of tears and apologies, my mom and George tell us they won't ever stand in our way and that they will always be there for us.

I grab Derek's hand when we are released from the hug to turn around to face our siblings. I don't think I have ever loved three people as much as I do them. And with big smiles on their faces, Edwin, Lizzie and Marti run the few feet to us to give Derek and myself one big hug.

I want to thank them for all they have even done for us. Helping us get together, hiding our secret, telling our parents whatever it was that got them to change their minds and the countless other things they have done that I have no idea about.

But before I, or Derek, can open our mouths, we hear Marti say "It's ok, we know."

The end . . . I know it's over a month late but it's still cold outside, so we'll pretend it's still the holiday season. :)